The Saving Asia’s Vultures from Extinction (SAVE) programme declared that it has plans to release up to 25 birds into a 30,000-sq-km drug-free “safe zone”. A project hopes to start releasing captive-bred birds into the wild by 2016, after experiencing the devastation wrought by a drug on Asian vulture populations.

In order to ensure that the species affected do not disappear completely from the wild, SAVE identified a number of priorities viz.

  • To establish a number of vast “safe zones” for the captive-bred birds to be released within. The areas have a radius of 100km and the consortium has identified six such areas – some of which cross national borders into Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • Establishment of a captive-breeding programme that would provide the birds to be released back into the wider environment, once it was safe to do so.
  • To save three critically important species from extinction through a single programme.

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has put vultures on its list of ‘critically endangered’ species.

The most common species of vultures in South Asia:

  • Long-billed vulture (Gyps indicus), also known as the Indian vulture.
  • White-backed vulture (Gyps africanus).
  • Slender-billed vulture (Gyps tenuirostris).
  • Red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvushave).
  • Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus).

Key Facts:

  1. The Jatayu and Sparrow Conservation Breeding Centre, Pinjore(JCBC), is world’s largest facility within Bir Shikargah Wildlife Sanctuary for the breeding and conservation of Indian vultures and House sparrow in the State of Haryana, India.
  2. Of India’s nine vulture species, four (including the white-rumped) are categorised as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.